Nintendo Should Offer Virtual Console and Switch Online. Following the news that the Wii U and 3DS eShop storefronts will close in 2023, several questions, arguments, and difficulties have arisen; one that attracted my attention was the missing Virtual Console platforms.
There were fair issues about content that would be removed, even though I included a humorous option in our Poll piece at the time poking fun at some of the collective furies, hinting that many of us were furious despite not using either store (or making a purchase) in quite some time.
My initial reaction was to lament the loss of system-exclusive games (especially great indie titles), but mentions of VC offerings gave me pause for even deeper consideration. While I have no problem handing over knowledge, data, and resources to Nintendo, I do not understand its strategy for making its classic content available or monetizing it.
Given that many traditional files will soon be unavailable for legal purchase from the corporation, we’ve included below an answer that was cut from the official Q & A.
This could change in the future, but for the time being, let’s assume that Nintendo will stick with its current strategy of releasing some classic games as one-off eShop releases and others as part of Nintendo Switch Online subscriptions, like the baffling limited-time release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light.
The Expansion Pack is presently a significant priority for Nintendo after it was confirmed that it would also feature the upcoming Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass. Most readers of these pages will know that releases on specific platforms are happening at a gradual drip feed.
Game batches (of varied sizes) for the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive are available across both NSO possibilities. Attempting to increase the number of subscribers is a reasonable goal.
Popular subscription services provide a steady stream of cash for businesses, as pointed out by Kate Gray in her article on the subject. Some Switch owners may be dragged in by the requirement of the standard NSO package for cloud saves and online play despite their lack of interest in the NES and SNES libraries.
Whether or not you’re interested in the N64 or SEGA Genesis games included in the Expansion Pack, the Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise and impending MK8 Deluxe DLC may be enough to convince you to buy it. Some subscribers will sign up primarily for the old games.
While that’s true, I can’t help but think of the old internet meme, “why not both?” So why not have a Virtual Console eShop with subscription options? Given the breadth of NSO’s content, it’s unlikely that all subscribers will immediately cancel in favor of dropping $5 on Super Mario Bros.
Looking back on the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U eras of the Virtual Console, we can see that even the most devoted fans had VC fatigue at some point. It’s possible that sales data was less reliable when we came to the 3DS and Wii U versions, but classic Pokémon games have been consistently popular on the 3DS eShop.
For example, we had a little 50Hz refresh throughout the Wii’s European run. Every new virtual console introduced sparked discussions about the optimal screen resolution, filter settings, etc.
They were loud complaints from a small group, and the fact is that for myself and many others, the Virtual Console was a great way to learn about the history of video games. The N64 was my first Nintendo console, even though I was old enough to have owned an NES, Game Boy, and Super Nintendo.
It’s so silly that you can’t buy GameBoy or GBA games on the Switch. Would companies like Retroid or Anbernic even exist if Nintendo put more effort into retro content? https://t.co/dJerrjW7pf
— Nicholas De Leon (@nicholasadeleon) December 26, 2022
I took full advantage of the opportunity to play back catalog titles I’d missed before getting a Wii and spent a lot of money doing so. Then the 3DS came out, and I loaded it up with a slew of Game Boy and Game Boy Color games from the Virtual Console.
I was there for a few crucial Game Boy Advance titles on Wii U. When I hear that redownloads might be discontinued (which hasn’t occurred yet), the first thing I do is back up my collections on all of my devices.
While Netflix’s business strategy focuses entirely on streaming video, several other big entertainment businesses offer subscription and purchase options. It is possible to subscribe to Microsoft Game Pass and still buy digital downloads of games included in the program.
Many PlayStation Now titles are also for sale on the PlayStation Store. On the television front, services like Amazon Prime and others offer both streaming and purchasing options for the same programming, with the two types of stores sometimes coexisting.
An opposing viewpoint is that Nintendo lacks the time or interest to make new versions of the game page texts and other features we’ve grown accustomed to on NSO, such as the control screens.
There will be a lot of prep work involved in making the ‘items,’ and it probably won’t be as simple as repurposing the store assets from past Virtual Console platforms to get the ball rolling. Considering the size of the undertaking, Nintendo may have evidence to imply that the investment would be futile.